Windows XP And Vista Users Beware: Gmail Ending Support For Chrome 53 And Older By December 2017

Gmail is ending support for Chrome browser versions 53 and earlier by the end of the year, Google announced in a blog post. Normally Google would not bother announcing such a thing, but in this case it made an exception because of the impact this could have users who are still clinging to Windows XP and Windows Vista. The last supported version of Chrome on either OS was Chrome 49.

"As previously announced in April 2015 and November 2015, these systems are no longer maintained by Microsoft, and we strongly encourage you to migrate to more secure and supported systems," Google said.

Windows XP Desktop

This announcement does not necessarily mean that Gmail will stop working altogether for staunch holdouts of Windows XP and Windows Vista. The first thing that will happen is Google will put a banner at the top of the Gmail interface for users who are still on Chrome 53 or earlier. This banner will encourage upgrading to the latest version of Chrome, which is currently Chrome 55.

Those who ignore the banner's advice will still be able to use Gmail through the end of 2017. After that, Google will stop dishing out updates, which means affected users will be more vulnerable to security holes and will miss out any new features and bug fixes.

Google is planning to redirect affected users to the basic HTML version of Gmail. This could happen as early as December 2017.

"If you manage Chrome Browser for your users, we strongly encourage you to update users to the latest version of Chrome. Depending on what operating system your users are on, you may need to migrate them to a supported system to get the latest version and features," Google added.

Around 9 percent of desktop systems are still running Windows XP. Windows Vista accounts for slightly less than 1 percent, though if you combine the two, then one of every 10 PCs is potentially affected by this announcement. The actual number won't be quite as high since it's not likely that every single Windows XP and Windows Vista user also uses Gmail and Chrome.